Ethiopia: Campaign Update

9 03 2011

In only 24-hours, over 11,000 concerned individuals have joined our Emergency Campaign for Ethiopian Children by signing our petition. We extend our thanks to all who have supported this initiative by signing the petition, distributing the campaign information and expressing your support of child protections and ethical adoption.

Today, we have continued our communication with the Ethiopian government and respectfully brought the outpouring of concern to them. We believe that there may have been positive developments and will provide further updates as information is confirmed.



The 30 Day Challenge!

31 10 2010

I’d like to introduce you to someone…She’s very special to me.  In so many ways she is the catalyst for who I am today.  She single handedly changed the course of my life.  The first time I held her in my arms I was frozen with fear – afraid I might just break her. She was so fragile, so limp, so weak.  Today, however, she is at peace.  Her name is Mbali.  She is the inspiration, foundation, and motivation for every Joint Council monthly newsletter, entitled Mbali’s Messages ( click here to subscribe now ).  Every month, at the bottom of each newsletter you can find these simple words about Mbali and her Message “Mbali was a four-month-old abandoned HIV+ orphan in South Africa who passed away in the arms of a Joint Council staff member.” That staff member was me.  For many years, Mbali’s memory was held only in my heart.  Through Mbali’s Message, Joint Council honors Mbali’s short life and the millions of orphaned children who die everyday without a family or a loving embrace. Our goal at Joint Council is to provide a vision of hope that children will never again pass from this world parentless and alone.

Since we started Mbali’s Message two years ago, Mbali has given a quiet but constant voice to the children of the world that I, Joint Council, and the global community have failed –  those who pass alone without the love of a family.  But today, and every day in the month of November, Mbali ‘s voice AND the voices of the thousands of children like her will be heard loud and clear.  As part of National Adoption Month Joint Council will be leading an advocacy campaign,  entitled “I am the Answer…” .  Everyday this month we will honor the children who have passed alone, who suffer alone today, and who have not yet found an answer with the love of a family.  We ask you to Be The Answer for them.  It’s easy to Be The Answer for a child.  Give 5 to 15 minutes of your day – every day in the month of November.

Today, I ask you to make the 30 day commitment to honor 30 children who are alone, without families, and without an answer.   I ask you to spend every day this month spreading Mbali’s Message of hope – may children never again pass from this world parentless and alone.

So, where do we start?

Starting tomorrow, Monday, go to our blog at where you will hear more about Mbali through my eyes and from my heart.   We will also share with you a message of hope –the message of a child who has what Mbali never had – a family.   There you will find the first task of the “I am the Answer” 30 day challenge.  Complete the task.

Then, on Tuesday, do the same thing.  Check out our blog.  Hear the story of another child we all failed, the story of a lucky child who received a family, and what you can do to give more children an answer.

Then, for the rest of the days in November do the same thing. Read the stories, complete the tasks, and spread the message that You are and can be the answer.

Ethics Are A Key

20 01 2010

The announcement by the Department of Homeland Security on humanitarian parole includes a list of documents meant to demonstrate a solid relationship between the adoptive parents and the child they wish to adopt.  And it is clear that the relationship must have been established before the earthquake ravaged Haiti.

For families who had identified a child (determined by the Haitian government to be an orphan eligible for adoption), but had not yet begun the process in an formal manner, it may be tempting to pre-date or create documents which could then be submitted to the US government as evidence.  We can only imagine how heartbroken a family would be if they could not bring a child into their family simply because the official process had not yet begun.

We can certainly empathize with anyone in such a situation but we all must recognize that pre-dating or otherwise falsifying a document is not only unethical but also illegal.  We have received a few reports that some attempts are being made to pre-date documents and we strongly urge anyone considering such actions to please show their love and concern for a child in a manner that is ethical and legal.  To do otherwise is to jeopardize your adoption, the rights of the child and the entire institution of intercountry adoption.

There are many ways to care for a child, to love them and nurture them.   For some children the best solution is local, within their own community.  For others it is intercountry adoption.   Let’s all work to find the most ethical and legal solution that is best for each and every child.

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